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REBT Vs CBT, Two Popular Therapy Approaches Compared

From the previous era till now, therapists have had different therapies and techniques to improve the mental well-being of their patients. In the modern era, there is development in various approaches while others are still in use with slight or no variation. 

The mental health provider opts for a variety of theories depending on the patient's circumstances and emotional needs.

Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy was introduced by Albert Ellis in 1955. It brings changes in traditional mental health therapeutic procedures.

While Aron Beck introduced Cognitive Behavior Therapy in the 1960s.

What is REBT?

Rational Emotive Behavioral therapy is an action-based therapy that is helpful against the person who has self-defeating behaviors, suffers through high stress and sadness, or the one who feels self-pity and shame. 

The purpose or aim of REBT is to change the perception of a person about oneself. A person is affected by their belief and perception about the event, not by its situation; it is the founding principle of REBT. 

In REBT therapy, the therapist asks the person to face a situation, develop a belief later, and look for its consequences. This exercise helps develop stress-coping behavior in a person. After successful therapy, you will learn to find happiness and survival under unfavorable circumstances. 

Here is the list of behaviors rational emotive behavioral therapy works to improve:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Guilt
  • Anger
  • Addiction 
  • Aggression
  • Unhealthy, inappropriate eating
  • Sleep disturbance

What is CBT?

CBT, or cognitive behavior therapy, somewhat belongs to RENT because it branched from REBT. CBT is the most common type of talk therapy in the US. It is helpful against depression, drug abuse, anxiety, eating disorders, marital issues, and other day-to-day mental illnesses. 

The principle of CBT is different from REBT. It focuses on treating or correcting unhealthy ways of thinking. The aim of the therapy in cognitive behavioral therapy is to change the thinking pattern.

Here is what can be treated through cognitive behavioral therapy:

  • Eating disorders
  • Addiction
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Phobia

What is the difference between REBT and CBT?

Secondary disturbance 

REBT focuses on secondary disturbance, while CBT ignores it. Before knowing the difference between the two, you should know about a secondary disturbance.

The secondary disturbance is the disturbance the patient generates based on the first or primary disturbance. For example, you get stressed by thinking about the stresses. In this case, the stress of losing something is the primary disturbance, while stress from the repeated thoughts of that stress is a secondary disturbance. 

Rational emotive behavioral therapy considers secondary disturbance as the critical factor for behavioral issues.

CBT, on the other side, works on the root of the thought that is the cause of the disturbance. It does not consider secondary disturbance as a factor in improving the client's mental well-being. 

Unconditional Self Acceptance or Reinforcement

Both CBT and REBT therapists work on inducing self-esteem in the client. The difference lies in the working principle. In rational emotive behavioral therapy, the therapist helps to develop Unconditional Self Acceptance USA in the person so that they may develop a behavior of accepting and admiring themselves in any situation. 

CBT is based on the reinforcement of positivities. Instead of developing the behavior of self-acceptance, the therapist induces the characteristic of admiring the positive aspect of yourself and ignoring the negative. 

Anger Management

CBT and REBT treat it differently if you want to seek help for anger management. REBT believes All Anger is Inappropriate, while CBT considers some anger normal. REBT tells all anger has some philosophical core; it teaches the client the anger alternatives. 

Treatment duration

Both Rational emotive behavioral therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy are short-term, but their specific duration depends on the client's problem. If the person has a mental disorder impacting the quality of life, the treatment will take longer or could continue indefinitely. 

The REBT session could be 5 days to 30 days long. For any phobia, the treatment may last for 2 to 3 sessions. 

Role of the Therapist

In REBT, the therapist takes on an active role, challenging the client's beliefs and helping them to develop more rational ways of thinking.

In CBT, the therapist also takes an active role, but the focus is more on teaching the client specific techniques and strategies for changing their thoughts and behaviors.

Effectiveness of REBT versus CBT

In terms of effectiveness, both REBT and CBT are effective treatments for a variety of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. However, there is evidence that REBT may be slightly more effective than CBT for certain types of problems, such as addiction and anger management. Overall, the choice between REBT and CBT may depend on a variety of factors, including the specific nature of the problem being treated, the preferences and goals of the client, and the expertise and training of the therapist. It is also worth noting that many therapists use a combination of REBT and CBT techniques in their practice, depending on the needs of their clients.

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